Troops’ service should make us thankful

First Posted: 11/24/2014

This week, families and friends will gather around their tables to celebrate Thanksgiving. This special holiday originated from the first harvest of the new world — a time when the Pilgrims and Native Americans joined together in fellowship to feast and give thanks to God. Today, we too should reflect on the many blessings we have been given.

It’s a tradition in my family to go around the table and share one thing we are thankful for. It’s always difficult to just choose one. Among many other blessings, I’m grateful for my wonderful and loving wife Renee, for my supportive family, for the way God has richly blessed my life, and for the tremendous honor to serve the 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

From the freedoms we enjoy as Americans to the men and women who fight to protect our country, we are truly blessed.

As Americans, we would not be able to celebrate the many blessings we hold dear without the sacrifice of our service members and their families. I want to give a special thanks to our men and women in uniform and to our veterans for their service to our country that makes the world a safer place. As your representative, taking care of these heroes and their families is one of my most sacred responsibilities.

Standing up and fighting for our military community so they receive the care and respect they deserve is the least we can do to repay the countless sacrifices they make on our behalf. Just two weeks ago, I read an article in the New York Post about a soldier, Spc. Brent Grommet, and his military dog, Matty, who were wrongfully separated after returning from Afghanistan where they both sustained injuries in the line of duty.

Under Robby’s Law, Spc. Grommet should have been able to adopt Matty, but they were separated due to administrative mishaps. When I first read the story, I was heartbroken and determined to do all that I could to get Matty back where he belonged — with Spc. Grommet.

I was thrilled that after two days of looking into the matter, I was able to track down Matty’s whereabouts. The family who had adopted Matty in good faith and had cared for him for almost a year graciously offered to return him to his rightful owner and best friend.

I spoke with Brent the day after he got Matty back and was so touched to hear the details of their emotional reunion and how excited Matty was to see him. Brent’s father said Matty nearly knocked Brent over while leaping into his arms because he was so excited to be reunited with his best friend.

I am truly honored to have played a role to help reunite these two heroes. Moreover, I am deeply humbled and grateful for the family who cared for Matty and selflessly returned him to our soldier. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Brent, Matty and all service members and their canine companions for serving our great nation.

I hope you take the time this Thanksgiving and holiday season to truly appreciate the many things we have to be grateful for in this world. Please keep in your hearts those who have sacrificed and those who continue to serve so that our country can remain prosperous and free.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-Concord, represents North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, which includes all of Richmond County.